Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Apple's new Macbook Air

#1
I briefly owned the new Macbook air briefly after it came out last year. It got stolen, but it was probably the single best computer I ever owned, minus its shortcomings that were hard to ignore. I had to find a good sale on it. It was extremely expensive for what it was. It was a little underpowered for the price. It had a number of issues with the keyboard. It was otherwise extremely sturdy and well built (did not feel cheap), but internally and in terms of specifications, not worth $1200. 

As it stands now, it looks like Apple is correcting a number of issues here. The keyboard is a scissor mechanism (finally!), the CPU is about "twice as fast" and has Ice lake processors in it. This is huge. It means more cores, better power efficiency, and damn good graphics (likely the best we've seen yet in a low powered laptop), all with a small form factor. 

If you're a student, you can supposedly get this one for $899. Oh, and the icing on the cake? They are packaging the base models with 256GB of storage. 

Looks like Apple finally got some sense on their shoulders. I will be buying this at the very first opportunity. What are your thoughts on this? Smile 

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/03/n...-just-999/
Reply
Thanks given by:
#2
I'm always eyeballing those MacBook Pros with the fancy touchbar above the keyboard. They got an SDK for it too so people can write all kinds of cool things for it (shortcut bar, soundboard, etc.) and I'd love to play with that.

But shit if they aren't expensive. Canadian dollar isn't doing well rn either, so that kills any prospects I'd have.
Maybe when we go full boog I'll find one during a raid ;o
Pricing-wise, macbooks aren't too bad for the specs. Sure, the drives don't have a ton of capacity or more than 8GB of RAM in most cases, or a super-high GHz CPU, but it all works together beautifully. Multithreading Just Werks™, the drives and RAM are ultra fast, etc. Try to run Ableton or any other DAW on a MacBook versus a 4000$ PC and you'll still get basically the same performance because of how well everything is put together, hardware- and software-wise.
Not to mention if you find the specific parts online (I don't mean similar speed, I mean the EXACT part no.) the retail price of everything put together (minus the chassis/screen/mobo) is pretty comparable to the final cost of the laptop itself.

Of course they have pretty big profit margins still because they don't buy parts for retail price, but still.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#3
It's the storage and the lack of upgradability that really kills them. For the longest time, their base models came with 128 GB of storage (unacceptable in 2020 when Word alone is 10GB), and you couldn't upgrade it.

256 GB is still not good for a 1,000 dollar laptop, but at least you can actually fit everything you need on it and still have some room to spare. If I'm doing music production, I will still need to go get an external drive, but hey, I could give Windows 64GB, and have 192 GB for programs, a small linux virtual machine, and some files, and all the big stuff could go to an external drive. 256GB is absolutely workable.

The other thing was the dual core CPUs. I'm fine with dual cores. My 2012 has been through hell and back with an Ivy Bridge dual core, and it's fast enough for everything I need to do, but when most laptops are shipping with four in that price range, it always surprised me that Apple went with two. For the most part, their specs were good before, but the storage and CPU cores were a bit of a black mark. They've really stepped up their game it seems.

Music production and gaming is where four cores shine the most. And the new macbook air might actually be capable of handing some games now, and probably will do just fine against previously more powerful laptops with dedicated graphics.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#4
(March 19th, 2020 at 1:09 AM)Darth-Apple Wrote: It's the storage and the lack of upgradability that really kills them. For the longest time, their base models came with 128 GB of storage (unacceptable in 2020 when Word alone is 10GB), and you couldn't upgrade it.

256 GB is still not good for a 1,000 dollar laptop, but at least you can actually fit everything you need on it and still have some room to spare. If I'm doing music production, I will still need to go get an external drive, but hey, I could give Windows 64GB, and have 192 GB for programs, a small linux virtual machine, and some files, and all the big stuff could go to an external drive. 256GB is absolutely workable.

The other thing was the dual core CPUs. I'm fine with dual cores. My 2012 has been through hell and back with an Ivy Bridge dual core, and it's fast enough for everything I need to do, but when most laptops are shipping with four in that price range, it always surprised me that Apple went with two. For the most part, their specs were good before, but the storage and CPU cores were a bit of a black mark. They've really stepped up their game it seems.

Music production and gaming is where four cores shine the most. And the new macbook air might actually be capable of handing some games now, and probably will do just fine against previously more powerful laptops with dedicated graphics.

That's true about the storage issue. I know they're also trying to crack down on anyone who tries to take any of their laptops apart to replace things; somehow it knows if you busted the chassis and whatnot.

I guess they're trying to make up for that fact by using USB-C ports now, though, to allow for people to read/write files as fast as possible on some sort of storage expansion, but again, not an ideal solution.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#5
They actually slowed down their SSDs on some of the updated models, but they are so fast that it's... at this point, almost a non-issue. Anything that's actually being used is in RAM. 1GB/sec vs 2GB/sec is almost tit-for-tat when a task is CPU bound.

Mine is only 500MB/sec, and it still feels so fast that the CPU is almost always the bound, not the storage. (Samsung SSDs are great, by the way.)
Reply
Thanks given by:
#6
@darth: I get what you mean, m.2 and pci-e SSD drives are insane these days, it's forced me to redefine the ideal computer in terms of bottlenecks because my interface of choice is command line and my bottleneck is how fast the computer can accept my inputs. Always funny to see the cursor lagging half a second behind.

As far as MacBooks go, i just got a new one myself, it's a 2008 model, and the first Intel Mac I've gotten my hands on. Free is free man :p
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]
Reply
Thanks given by:
#7
The 2008 ones are still good! These things are timeless. They are built to last. Finna

Yours is very similar to mine if it's 2008. It's overall the same form factor. I love these things.
Reply
Thanks given by:
#8
(March 19th, 2020 at 4:04 PM)Darth-Apple Wrote: The 2008 ones are still good! These things are timeless. They are built to last. Finna

Yours is very similar to mine if it's 2008. It's overall the same form factor. I love these things.
[Image: FcvHPccl.jpg]
it really needs a cleanup and I need to get the decal off Tongue
it's a 13in model a1281
I can totally see what you mean about built to last though, the relative weight reminds me of my old IBM model M keyboard lol.

the only thing it needed was a power adapter, and I got one for $15 instead of paying apple $80 for one  Undecided

apple also did a P.O.S.T. at the store for me to see if it powered on before I went and got a power adapter Big Grin
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]
Reply
Thanks given by:
#9
Just be careful to make sure the aftermarket adapters don’t overheat if they have a poor connection. Other than that, you just saved a lot of money. No sense in buying an $80 charger for a 12 year old computer.

Love that model though. I was going to get on myself a long time ago. Does yours have an SSD upgrade yet?

Welcome to the Apple fam. Finna Tongue
Reply
Thanks given by:
#10
(March 19th, 2020 at 4:50 PM)Darth-Apple Wrote: Just be careful to make sure the aftermarket adapters don’t overheat if they have a poor connection. Other than that, you just saved a lot of money. No sense in buying an $80 charger for a 12 year old computer.

Love that model though. I was going to get on myself a long time ago. Does yours have an SSD upgrade yet?

Welcome to the Apple fam. Finna Tongue

I have many apples darth, just not intel ones Tongue

I'm thinking about swapping the drive with an SSD, it's a sata drive in there after all and 120gb is $20 at best buy which is crazy.

as far as the power adapter, I did tons of research first, I even made sure to get the T shaped connector instead of the L shaped one, as well as getting the exact same voltage, wattage, etc as the broken power adapter that came with it.

the only condition for getting the computer was that I wipe the drive, and I plan to do just that before installing the latest OSX it'll support and going from there.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]
Reply
Thanks given by:
#11
Nice! You’ll have to share how it goes. Big Grin

I never did understand the difference between the T shaped and L shaped connectors. Mine is an L shaped one. I tried a T shaped one and it does not fit at all.

How is the performance over the PowerPC ones?
Reply
Thanks given by:
#12
(March 19th, 2020 at 6:58 PM)Darth-Apple Wrote: Nice! You’ll have to share how it goes. Big Grin

I never did understand the difference between the T shaped and L shaped connectors. Mine is an L shaped one. I tried a T shaped one and it does not fit at all.

How is the performance over the PowerPC ones?

it should be significantly more powerful, it has double the ram, and a dual core cpu

I'll know for sure when the power adapter gets here and I can test the two side by side.

05 ppc vs 08 intel hmm.

I did notice one thing though, the 08 macbook keyboard, despite being a membrane (butterfly key?) keyboard, feels really nice to type on, the spacing is good, and there's a small amount of feedback when you press down.

it's no mechanical but it might be a nice second.

edit: got the power cable 2 days early...

got everything working a bit ago, honestly I think the biggest surprise was how functional it is.

turns out the previous owner upped it to 4gb of ram (listed max, some people have pushed it to 6?), so I don't need to worry about that.

honestly I think this 2008 macbook may actually work better as a daily driver XD.

however, for old mac software, even with sheepsaver, the 2005 macbook can't be beat because it's not emulating and no emulator has gotten 3D graphics support working yet for old games.

so it's sort of a tossup.

I'd say it'd be best to use both on a case by case basis.

notes: the keyboard is really nice to type on, there's no real noticeable slowdown like I get with USB which is nice, but I'd expect that from most decent laptops.
the hdd is 320gb in size, I can probably stick a bigger one in here.
does not support older PPC games, emulators work but without 3D acceleration. (dual boot with win xp might help here?)

biggest surprise is that it handles normal internet use fairly well... of course I'm using pihole as an extra precaution, old software being what it is but holy carp is it fast despite being so low spec compared to modern systems which sometimes chug loading youtube lol.

comparing a 3 year difference in hardware though is tough, but having a 12 year old laptop outpace a modern windows 10 one with 4x the memory and way more cpu power is funny.

now if I can just find a way to get a copy of OSX Lion instead of snow leopard...
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]
Reply
Thanks given by:
#13
Mac OS is very fast, especially on the older releases. Catalina is much slower on mine. It takes several seconds to load a large program, but it otherwise runs fine. My 2012 can handle Cities Skylines. That's kinda nice.

I recently took an old Macbook and restricted it to 1GB of RAM just to see how it'd run. It ran like a charm, even on 1GB of RAM. Apple manages itself much better than Windows when it's running tight on resources... Finna

Theoretically, the old PowerPC laptops were not the best, simply because they used the G4 instead of the G5 for power efficiency reasons. And they only had one core instead of two. I've heard they aren't bad. Never used one, but I've heard they perform just fine. Maybe it's the OS, maybe it's something different. But I've always wanted one. Finna

It's nice that they upgraded yours already. 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD is not bad. I will say that Apple is HORRIBLY optimized for hard drives I've noticed. They are quite a bit faster once you throw an SSD in there. The RAM optimization is fantastic. The HDD optimization, not so much... Not sure why, but Windows handles hard drives better than Mac OS.

I also discovered that the new 2020 Macbook Airs only have a dual core i3 at the $999 price range. That's a little disappointing. You have to pay $1299 for the quad core one. That being said, the starting price for the 2018 model was $1199 for the dual core, so it's not too far off. Sales and discounts will start to bring it down soon enough, and the $999 model (which will be very popular for students and what not) will be just fine for those who are just using it for schoolwork or to browse the web.

I'm still going to buy one later this year or early next year most likely. And it's going to be the quad core on so that I can start recording music again. Big Grin
Reply
Thanks given by:
#14
@darth: the 2008 macbook is insanely easy to swap the hdd I found when I thought the drive had suddenly died on me (turns out I just broke the OS trying to set it up to compile code...)

remove the battery, unscrew the ram/hdd cover, pull the tab and the hdd tray comes out.

it's 4 alan wrench screws holding it to the tray/caddy... and it's a 2.5in sata hdd so any old drive of that form factor should work.

one other nice feature, the battery has a button on the bottom with 4 lights, it actually has a dedicated power meter on the battery... like wtf? XD
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]
Reply
Thanks given by:
#15
Mine has that same indicator. It's very useful, especially because they go to sleep automatically.

Apple has really done some good work on the engineering of their product. The newer macbooks don't have this indicator OR the magsafe... Not sure what they've been thinking as of late.
Reply
Thanks given by:




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | Makestation | Return to Top | Lite (Archive) Mode | RSS Syndication 
Proudly powered by MyBB 1.8, © 2002-2020
Forum design by Makestation Team © 2020